PESHAWAR- Unchecked unlawful building of inns, resorts and eating places on the river beds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa intensified the flash floods that hit most elements of the province on August 27 damaging dozens of inns and different settlement alongside the banks.
Ranging from Mataltan and Kalam valleys, the flood in River Swat had destroyed about 30 illegally constructed inns and broken 50 others breaking 30 years file with 243 % extreme within the Malakand division.
The unlawful building of inns in alongside River Swat had not solely obstructed stream of flood water but in addition was flash floods damaging properties in fundamental Bahrain bazaar of the colonial period.
The info shared by the Workplace of Commissioner Malakand confirmed that about 30 inns at Kalam, Bahrain, Madain, Landaki and Fizagat principally constructed on River Swat’s beds have been destroyed and one other 50 broken by flash floods at unprecedented velocity.
Equally, 700 inns, motels, inns and eating places have been utterly inundated at Kalam, Bahrain, Kabal, Charbagh, Manglawar, Khwazakhela, Matta, Madain Mingora bypass highway that inflicted colossal losses to lodge business in Swat.
President All Swat Inns Affiliation, Zahid Khan claimed that latest floods have both broken or destroyed about 50 inns and 150 eating places that induced about Rs25 billion losses. He mentioned that roughly Rs70 billion financial losses have been incurred solely to tourism-related companies in Malakand division. “The large-scale encroachment and illegal construction around banks of River Swat and other watercourses contributed to massive losses to hotels industry, trout fish, agriculture, orchards and livestock,” he mentioned.
The scenario is worrisome and raises query as to why the involved departments stored mum when this pattern of unlawful building was flourishing. “The people, businessmen, farmers and hoteliers of Swat would continue to suffer from flood hazards if all these illegal structures are not bulldozed,” mentioned Wajid Ali Khan, former Minister for Surroundings.
He mentioned unlawful building of inns and buildings close to banks of River Swat, particularly at Kalam, Bahrain and Madain had marred the pure fantastic thing about the vacationer areas moreover affecting trout fish manufacturing. “The people of Swat were mostly relying on tourism business and destruction of a large number of hotels had deprived many people of their living,” Wajid mentioned and commented, had the related legal guidelines been absolutely complied by them, the losses might have lowered manifold.
Expressing concern on unlawful building alongside river banks, particularly in Swat, the Nationwide Meeting’s Sub-Committee on Water Assets had sought suggestions from totally different departments for formulating new water and setting coverage for the nation in view of local weather change challenges.
The Sub-Committee was constituted after devastation triggered by latest flash floods and torrential rains alongside rivers Swat, Indus and Kunhar.
Convener of the committee, MNA Riazul Haq mentioned that the federal authorities was mulling modification in present legal guidelines and enacting contemporary laws on water and setting points together with encroachment in rivers to avert any future losses as a consequence of climatic modifications.
Commenting on the problem, Deputy Commissioner Swat Junaid Khan mentioned Part 144 ban has been imposed banning every kind of building alongside river Swat within the aftermath of latest calamity.
He claimed that almost all of those inns broken in flood, have been constructed earlier than Rivers Safety Act 2014. “This Act strictly prohibits construction of hotels, houses and other projects within a distance of 200 feet of the rivers.”
“From now onwards, no person would be allowed to construct commercial or non-commercial buildings or carryout any other development work within 200 feet of the rivers and streams in Swat,” the Deputy Commissioner mentioned. He additionally warned of strict motion in opposition to violators of this act below Part 188 of PPC and mentioned operation in opposition to unlawful building, encroachment in addition to accumulation of particles alongside the River Swat has already been launched.
He additionally talked about to establishing of a three-member committee headed by Assistant Commissioner Bahrain to work out an inclusive technique for identification of encroachment and unlawful constructions alongside River Swat.
In the meantime, Sub Divisional Officer Irrigation Bahrain has been assigned the duty to determine encroachment below Khyber Pakhtunkhwa River Safety Act (Amended) 2014, for additional mandatory motion.
Saad Khan, a spokesperson of KP Tradition and Tourism Authority, mentioned that the latest flash floods had badly affected roads infrastructure, trout farms and inns in Kalam, Bahrain and Madain. “A comprehensive survey is underway to assess actual magnitude of financial losses caused to hotel industry in Swat,” he added.
Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, Commissioner Malakand division, has additionally expressed displeasure on unlawful building, plastic air pollution and particles dumping alongside banks of river Swat. “Such irrational approaches were intolerable. Water and plastic pollution was having negative effects on aquatic resources in river Swat,” he commented.
The Commissioner mentioned a high-level committee has been shaped to make sure implementation of the Rivers Act 2014 in letter and spirit moreover initiation of motion in opposition to encroachers and violators of constructing legal guidelines. “An anti-encroachment drive has also been launched in Swat and construction on river banks and natural waterways was completely banned,” he mentioned.
Since, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf was in energy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province since final ten years and enacted the Rivers Act 2014, however seemingly it did not get applied this Act in letter and spirit. This failure on the a part of the provincial authorities not solely resulted in lack of human lives and property but in addition colossal harm to habitat, setting and livestock inflicting lack of billions of rupees.